I was glad to see that City Council candidate Evelyn Zneimer wants to investigate how Placeworks replaced Kaizer Ringwala as consultant for the General Plan and Mission Specific Plan.
The explanation that was given to the public made little sense. Ringwalla wrote a letter accusing the city of acting in a highly irregular and unethical manner, but the real reasons for his removal remain unclear. He and his very creative team had worked with many citizens over a period of years to develop a General Plan with lots of input from the public. Those public meetings were well attended and well received for their inclusion of the people. It was a bottoms up approach, not top down.
It appears to many citizens that the City Manager replaced Ringwala because she has a different agenda, certainly one that lacks the degree of public input that the Ringwala plan had and is more development oriented, as evidenced by public actions and statements. Very few citizens know what’s in the current plan.
The lack of transparency in the hiring of Placeworks, not to mention putting someone on the Planning Commission with previous links to Placeworks who had only lived here for a few months, is among the many reasons that so many have lost trust in the city. Trust will only be restored by changing the autocratic and un-transparent way the city’s been run for the last three years.
What’s at stake is what our city will look like in the next few decades. We need people on the City Council who will stand up to the lack of transparency and behind-the-scenes manipulation that currently characterizes city management, not rush to the defense of the City Manager on every single issue.
– Ron Rosen, South Pasadena
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